This week we saw the media, the government, and the markets callously misrepresent the employment picture yet again as the Department of Labor released its January 19th data. The alleged improvement to a seasonally adjusted rate of 325,000 new benefit seekers (supposedly good news) was the statistical façade for the ACTUAL number of people seeking state benefits which was a whopping 521,316. Civilian Federal employee unemployment rose nearly 100% in the week’s data and newly discharged veterans’ unemployment rose as well. And most alarming, while totally neglected by media and markets, is the fact that from 2008 to the present, we’ve permanently lost close to 6 million ‘covered employment’ jobs. In other words, with unemployment still placing millions in distress, our government and its interlocutors have shrunk the denominator by 4.7% placing even the flawed statistics at an unemployment rate pushing 13%. Getting better? No chance in hell.
In the face of these blatant abuses of data to evoke the illusion of progress, it is no wonder that many in the public find themselves certain of the fallacy of the established order. In this conclusion, they are correctly taking the measure of things. Regrettably, however, I have encountered, during this same time, the thus-repulsed masses clinging relentlessly to the agents of the incumbency as they clamour for an alternative experience. “Give me change,” they cry, “but make sure that it comes in a form that I find palatable.”
Georg H. W. Hegel (German philosopher; 1770 - 1831) in his Philosophy of Right ponders the question of public deception in ways few modern thinkers dare inquire.
“A great mind has publicly raised the question, whether it be permitted to deceive a people. We must answer that a people does not allow itself to be deceived in regard to its substantive basis, or the essence and definite character of its spirit; but in regard to the way in which it knows this, and judges of its acts and phases, it deceives itself.”
“No matter what passion is expended in support of an opinion, no matter how seriously it is defended or attacked, this is no criterion of its practical validity. Yet least of all would opinion tolerate the idea that its earnestness is not earnest at all.”
“Public opinion deserves, therefore, to be esteemed and despised; to be despised in its concrete consciousness and expression, to esteemed in its essential basis. At best, its inner nature makes merely an appearance in its concrete expression, and that, too, in a more or less troubled shape…. Who does not learn to despise public opinion, which is one thing in one place and another in another, will never produce anything great.”
Allow me an example. Last May, I wrote a blog post in which I challenged the world to get engaged with a dislocated community that needs to have its basic needs addressed including developing reliable access to clean water. Since then, hundreds of people have ebbed and flowed around the idea; some passing through the arena as spectators and some suiting up to go out onto the field to play in the match. For over two decades – first in Mosaic Technologies and then in M•CAM – I have become accustomed to the voyeurism inspired by our fusion economy ethical engagement structures that indict all conventional business and social narratives. I have also become somewhat immune to the wistful attraction predictably preceding the near unanimous passive or violent repulsion experienced when individuals become aware of the completeness with which we animate our activities outside the realm of conventional thinking and acting. But what I find the most amazing is the number of individuals who profess a desire to learn how to engage transformative processes that we’ve demonstrated can be reliably replicated throughout the world but would like them to have boundaries of time, budget, logistics, and hierarchical (un)certainties – NONE of which exist when you’re truly operating outside the enslavement of the mechanized colonial industrial complex and memes.
Which brings me back to Hegel and the succor provided by his nearly two century old wisdom. Incumbency (the ‘bad guys’ in many popular circles) and transformationalists (the ‘good illumined beings’ in many popular circles) too often find themselves equivalently enslaved by “acts and phases” by which they deceive themselves. The axiom which states that “Problems cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created the problem,” needs to embrace the corollary that “Solutions cannot be manifest through the application of metrics conventionally used at the time the problem was defined.” (This corollary is my humble contribution to the greatest philosophers of all time!) Your impulse that ‘something needs to change’ is an intuition that is trustworthy. Your reflex to look for both the utilities with which you’ve become comfortable (schedules, budgets, creature comforts, etc.) and the validation of others (encouragement, praise, peer validation, etc.) through which you’ve come to expect affirmation are in absolute error. If We the People seek to engage the needs of humanity and the ecosystem in ways that alter our collective experience of enslavement and extractive wont, we must embrace a liberty from the trappings of convention at all levels and accept that the world we seek will be unrecognizable through the optics with which we’ve existed in the consensus illusion of the present.